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a mum was asked to leave local swimming pool because she was breastfeeding. Is this allowed?

(202 Posts)
chocolateorange Mon 03-Aug-09 15:19:26

just back from pool with my 2 dd. A woman and her friend were there with their babies who were about 5mo.

One of the women discreetly (wouldn't care if she wasn't tbh), began to bf. She was half in pool half out, in the very shallow end.

After about 5mins she was told to stop at once or leave. 2 men had complained, reasons given were

their children would see her breast and be offended.
their children would ask questions. wtf!
it's "disgusting"
there are germs in the water and she shouldn't do it there.

this was all echoed by the manager (a man) who then asked her to leave.

I am absolutely furious.

Can they do this?


littleducks Mon 03-Aug-09 15:21:53

I think this has happened before on a thread, honestly i think she should have gotten out of the water and sat on the side, but my pool has nice loungers and deckchairs around the edge so it may be less nice in another pool

beanieb Mon 03-Aug-09 15:24:22

wrong to ask her to leave, unless she kicked off or something!?

theyoungvisiter Mon 03-Aug-09 15:25:53

why should she get of the water? It's not like the children would be any less likely to see the horrors of a nekkid boob any less if she were out of the water, and both she and the baby would be very cold.

Plus if she had other children she would be arguably less able to supervise them.

Totally ridiculous IMO - I bet if she'd been a buxom 20 yo in a teeny bikini they wouldn't have been complaining about any awkward questions.

chocolateorange Mon 03-Aug-09 15:25:55

I'll do a search for other thread but I was really after a definitive on whether they are allowed to insist she stops breastfeeding. smile

tiktok Mon 03-Aug-09 15:27:34

Unfortunately,my understanding is that in England, she is poorly protected in law against this sort of harassment. However, her local authority (if it was a local authority pool) may have a bf policy and it may be written down in this policy that bf is welcome anywhere women and babies are welcome - she could contact her local councillor, or her council's woman's officer if there is one, and ask.

If the pool has gone against local policy then she will have a good case.

She could take it to the local paper, too.

If she is in Scotland, the pool manager has broken the law.

theyoungvisiter Mon 03-Aug-09 15:28:07

I think in England they are allowed to ask you to stop bfing atm although I am happy to be corrected smile

I know there is legislation proposed to enshrine the right to bf but I don't think it's been made law yet - not sure of the timeline though so I could be wrong.

if it was a council pool however, it would be worth contacting the local council to see what their view is and how it meshes with the government's aim to promote breastfeeding.

daisydora Mon 03-Aug-09 15:28:41

I would be a bit shock tbh if I saw someone FF on the poolside. I would question why she hadn't gotten out so I guess I would say the same about this woman. Obv if she had other children with her she couldn't leave the poolside.

But the reasons given for throwing her out are complete bolleux, she should have complained. I certainly would have.

chocolateorange Mon 03-Aug-09 15:29:57

I'm so mad about this. That woman was utterly humiliated. She didn't kick off at all, though her friend argued the case. Answer didn't change though either stop or leave.

I cannot get my head round why she should leave, why the hell should she.

They were all agog that she had dared to feed her child in public. Like something out of the fking dark ages.

theyoungvisiter Mon 03-Aug-09 15:30:17

x-posted with Tiktok.

Assuming it is a local autorhority pool, it might be worth contacting the local MP too, especially if they are of the opposite political persuasion to the council majority, as they are often delighted to make the opposing council look foolish grin

PuppyMonkey Mon 03-Aug-09 15:33:24

I did the original story about the woman bf in her local pool in Nottingham that was also covered in all the nationals earlier this year. She was told no food and drink in the pool area. grin Will try and find my story, but am supposed to be working....

PuppyMonkey Mon 03-Aug-09 15:35:57


Council have changed their policy now though...

chocolateorange Mon 03-Aug-09 15:36:07

thank you for your comments. tiktok the local councillor suggestion was great, didn't think of that.

not in scotland and yes it is a council run pool.

I'm not up to scratch on bfing laws (obv) but I'm struggling to see how feeding your child in the way nature intended is in some way wrong.

the issue was essentially about the woman exposing her breast, she wasn't. At All.

Wonder if they are so keen to protect their children's eyes from the horrors of the female breast when they are holidaying in Europe!

theyoungvisiter Mon 03-Aug-09 15:37:14

no food and drink!!! lol that's brilliant.

was she supposed to unstrap her breasts and leave them in the locker?!

chocolateorange Mon 03-Aug-09 15:37:23

whoo moves fast, thank you puppymonkey

mummygirl Mon 03-Aug-09 15:38:37

stories like this make my blood boil. When I still lived in England a few years back I was breastfeeding my then 6-week-old in the gp waiting room, when someone complained to the receptionist, who then came up to me and asked me to stop. I more or less told her to F off, but I was so angry I thought I wwas going to explode!

posieparkerinChina Mon 03-Aug-09 15:41:30

I think it's rather dangerous (baby more likely to get knocked, swallow chlorine etc etc) to bf a baby in a pool but there my objection ends.

I love the idea that a swimming pool is really not the place to expose your breast... I'm sure an arse cheek is okaygringrin.

chocolateorange Mon 03-Aug-09 15:45:05

exactly mummygirl. I had a long, let's call it heated debate with the 2 men who complained. They just would not or more likely could not see where I was coming from on this issue.

What makes me sad is that they were both there, independently, with their daughters. Who heard and digested their cries of, "it's disgusting. Fancy showing your boobs with young children around. She should stay at home if she's so worried about it"

theyoungvisiter Mon 03-Aug-09 15:45:13

but posie - if the baby's being taken in the pool to SWIM they are likely to swallow chlorine/get knocked etc.

I'm not sure how bfing it is any more "dangerous" than just letting it bob around in your arms - surely on that argument you shouldn't be putting a baby in the water at all?

moondog Mon 03-Aug-09 15:47:46

What did she do Chocolate?

moondog Mon 03-Aug-09 15:48:46

And good for you for sticking up for her.
What were these neanderthals blokes like?

chocolateorange Mon 03-Aug-09 15:48:57

trust me posie, it was not dangerous at all. She took herself off to a corner where the water was shin high. No chlorine could be swallowed. That was an argument one of the dads put forward. I told him he should worry about his own children who were, in no doubt, gulping down the water by the mouthful - as children do.

GirlsAreLoud Mon 03-Aug-09 15:52:00

Ridiculous reasons.

The only reason I can think of is that when we did water babies we were asked leave at least 45 mins between a feed and going into the water in case they were sick. But that would be the same for breast/bottle fed/weaned baby.

posieparkerinChina Mon 03-Aug-09 15:53:00

YOUNG You do have a point, but I still wouldn't bf in a pool... there's really no need. If you've taken a baby to swim then that's your main focus. Anyway safety wasn't their issue was it, it was shockshock exposure of some breast skin.

chocolateorange Mon 03-Aug-09 15:53:56

the lifeguard told her to stop. She then stopped but fuelled probably by mine and her friends outrage, asked to speak to the manager.

I was in lockdown with the two neanderthals (only word for them moondog) whilst her friend went at it with the manager. I feel so bad as I now, in reflection, think we added to her embarrassment. Everyone was looking. They got out after a while to carry on with the manager.

I don't know either of them but when I got out I saw someone I do know who knows the friend (you still with me) so I'm going to get in touch to see if I can help them take this further.

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